Astronomers witness formation of gigantic galaxy for 1st time ever
NASA's Telescopes have helped astronomers to observe the construction of a massive galaxy, for the first time ever, at the building site dubbed as "sparky".
Washington: NASA's Telescopes have helped astronomers to observe the construction of a massive galaxy, for the first time ever, at the building site dubbed as "sparky".
The discovery was made possible through combined observations from NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the W.M.Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the European Space Agency's Herschel space observatory, in which NASA plays an important role.
Erica Nelson of Yale University in New Haven, said that they really hadn't seen a formation process that could create things that are this dense and they suspected that this core-formation process was a phenomenon unique to the early universe because the early universe, as a whole, was more compact, as today, the universe has been so diffuse that it cannot create such objects anymore.
The team also found that galaxy core "sparky" was creating stars at a rate of roughly 300 stars per year, compared to the 10 stars per year produced by our Milky Way.
Astronomers theorize that this frenzied star birth was sparked by a torrent of gas flowing into the galaxy's core while it formed deep inside a gravitational well of dark matter, invisible cosmic material that acts as the scaffolding of the universe for galaxy construction.
Observations indicated that the galaxy had been furiously making stars for more than a billion years. It was likely that this frenzy eventually would slow to a stop and that over the next 10 billion years other smaller galaxies might merge with Sparky, causing it to expand and become a mammoth, sedate elliptical galaxy.
The paper is published in the journal Nature.